Finally, Telegram launches group video call - But is it a bit late to the party?

Group Video Calls introduced in Telegram
(Image credit: Telegram)

Long back when Telegram was not a big rival to WhatsApp, at least in terms of numbers, it had announced that it would "focus on bringing secure group video calls in 2020". Much water has flown under the bridge since then. Thanks to a maladroit move on privacy by WhatsApp, Telegram even briefly threatened to get the better of the Facebook owned platform. But the promised group video call, which would have helped it garner even more numbers in these lockdown numbers, did not materialise.

And finally now, Telegram has in its latest update said it would enable group video calls on all devices, including tablets and desktops. 

It also said that audio-only participants in group calls are unlimited, but only the first 30 people to join a group call can choose to turn on video. 

Users can make group video calls by tapping ‘Share my video’ option in any active session. Telegram has claimed that it will increase this limit soon as voice chats take on streaming games, live events and more.

Is it case of better late than never?

These new features, while certainly welcome for Telegram users, are also slightly late. Or so feel analysts. If it had been introduced at the peak of pandemic, when people were looking for quick and easy options for secure group calls, Telegram could have made much more inroads. 

Also, if it had come when the mood was decidedly against WhatsApp, when people were ditching it and switching over to Telegram in thousands, it could have helped it consolidate its position. As more features mean more attractions.

For the record, WhatsApp has group video call option since 2018. When you are taking on an established and mighty opponent, you need to be quick on the uptake. And perhaps that is where Telegram missed a trick or two.

Animated backgrounds & other new features in Telegram

Animated backgrounds in Telegram

(Image credit: Telegram)

But never mind, along with group video calls Telegram has also announced a few other new features. Users can also share their screens during a video call. And that should help.

The screen-sharing feature can be accessed by just tapping on the menu button, and pressing the screen sharing option followed by app permission. In order to amplify the quality of the voice, Telegram has introduced a noise suppression option as well. This feature can be enabled during a live voice chat. Users can also pin a video if they want it to stay focused as more users join the call with video.

Aside from video call functionalities, Telegram has also introduced Animated Backgrounds that are claimed to be gradient wallpapers designed algorithmically and move every time you send a message. 

Users can find more animated backgrounds in Settings. Android: Chat Settings > Change Chat Background. iOS: Appearance > Chat Background.

Telegram is offering this feature along with many default themes pre-installed.

Users can also choose to create their own background and share their background with others.

Balakumar K
Senior Editor

Over three decades as a journalist covering current affairs, politics, sports and now technology. Former Editor of News Today, writer of humour columns across publications and a hardcore cricket and cinema enthusiast. He writes about technology trends and suggest movies and shows to watch on OTT platforms.